Tribunal upholds council’s waste contract appeal
The Information Tribunal has upheld parts of the county council’s appeal to the decision that the entire Javelin Park contract be published.
A new energy from waste facility is being built through a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB), which will stop over 90% of the Gloucestershire’s rubbish that can’t be reused or recycled ending up in landfill.
The council published the contract on its website, with information it believed to be commercially sensitive removed. The Information Commissioner told the council to publish the contract in full; however the council appealed to the Information Tribunal, seeking to clarify the legal position.
The tribunal’s decision has now been published and the county council’s appeal upheld in part.
Important commercial information including key technical details can be kept confidential, says the tribunal. Some prices and information regarding termination will now be published.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This is good news. It clarifies exactly what information we are required to publish – and is clear that key commercially-sensitive information can be protected.
“We know of a number of councils across the country that are appealing against similar rulings – so this helps us all know what the legal rules are here.
“I am also really pleased to be able finally to publish the information, which makes clear what we’ve said all along - that the energy from the waste facility is great value for money for taxpayers, that it supports recycling, and that there are no penalty clauses.
“The new facility will save taxpayers over £100 million, make enough clean electricity to power 25,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes. UBB has made good progress on construction and the facility will be operational in 2019.”
An updated version of the contract will be available on the council’s website from today (Tuesday 14 March), www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/freedom-of-information/how-can-i-request-information/